Nirvana Reunite Fronted By Paul McCartney

Legendary grunge band returns for charity gig.

Ultimate Guitar

After the death of Kurt Cobain in 1994, it seemed pretty definitive that Nirvana, the band who became the reluctant flag bearers for alternative rock back in the early 1990s, was finished.

Kurt, after all, had been an icon to millions of young people across the world. Understandably, the band splintered. Dave Grohl and Pat Smear went on to the Foo Fighters, while Krist Novoselic more or less quit music all together, choosing instead to focus on a career in politics.

However, there have been recent murmurings that the surviving members of the legendary grunge act might be working together again in some capacity. The ball started rolling when Krist Novoselic showed up on Foo Fighters' "Wasting Light" LP in 2010. Then, the bassist found himself appearing in Dave Grohl's upcoming documentary about "Sound City" studios. It had even been suggested that the three surviving Nirvana members had found the way into a rehearsal room.

Last night, those speculations became a reality when the surviving members of Nirvana took to the stage together, fronted by none other than former Beatle Paul McCartney. The group (The Nirveatles if you will...) performed at last night's (December 12th) Hurricane Sandy benefit concert, debuting a new song titled "Cut Me Some Slack". Paul McCartney prefaced the performance with the following speech:

"So, recently, some guys asked me to go and jam with them. So I showed up like you do, y'know, ready to jam and... um... in the middle of it these guys kept saying 'well, we haven't played together for years', y'know. So... the penny finally dropped, and I finally understood that I was in the middle of a Nirvana reunion. Ladies and gentlemen; Mr Dave Grohl, Mr Krist Novoselic and Mr Pat Smear. We're gonna do the song we jammed now. First time we've done it live."

YouTube preview picture

The track itself seems to be sitting somewhere between "School", the heavy hitting track from Nirvana's 1989 debut record "Bleach" and The Beatles' proto-metal classic "Helter Skelter". There are even some rhythmic flourishes from Grohl that seem reminiscent of his work in supergroup Them Crooked Vultures.

McCartney and Nirvana's performance wasn't the only grunge-classic rock team up of the evening. Former Pink Floyd honcho Roger Waters was joined by Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder on a rendition of the Floyd classic "Comfortably Numb". Other artists at the benefit show, which took place at Madison Square Garden, included The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and The Who.

But how do you feel about the idea of seeing Nirvana sans Kurt Cobain? Cobain was the driving force behind the band back in the day, holding sole or principal songwriter credit on pretty much all of their material. And yet, what Nirvana and McCartney debuted at last night's concert seems to be in the spirit of the band's classic material, while taking on a life of it's own.

134 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Join us at Ultimate Guitar next week for the following headlines: "Courtney Love Sues Paul McCartney" And "Courtney Love SLAMS the Beatles"
    Week after that "Cortney Love; I wrote half of the beatles hit songs!"
    Btw, let me anticipate UG on this one:
    Jesus, since when is Courtney Love the go-to ambassador for all things Nirvana? Isn't she just a talentless crackwh*re who had horrible, horrible sex with Kurt on a regular basis?
    The Jet Lag Man
    Just horrible, awful sex. During which, Kurt penned such tracks like "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and "Come As You Are" and other horrible sex jokes.
    I somewhat agree that it'd have been cooler if John Lennon was still alive and fronted instead. Paul was still great and it was still really cool but Lennon was my favorite and was the biggest influence on Kurt out of the Beatles.
    Damn right! To bad George is gone too...just think of what they could be doing with so many of the artists of today.
    I'm not even a huge Nirvana fan, and I thought they sounded great.
    The song reminds me more of Led Zep's version of When The Levee Breaks than anything by Nirvana or The Beatles.
    I don't know what I would feel about a proper reunion, but I think the one off was absolutely awesome. Even though it's been ages, there seemed to be no try hard, and even without Kurt, for some reason I could still feel that Nirvana spontaneousness. Also, I would love to know what Kurt Cobain would be thinking if he could see it. His band playing with one of the damn Beatles!
    Although Kurt loved the Beatles, he said, and I quote; "I hate Paul McCartney". So I don't think he would be happy about it.
    Good song, too happy for Kurt though... one of the few bands legacies you could never touch.
    it's not really Nirvana, is something thats grown out of nirvana. its new, exciting, and none of them seem to be just trying to cash in on sounding all grungy. And oddly enough w/ the sound of pauls voice in that vid I kinda think he could pull off nirvana covers fairly well.
    Why not just tour as Nirvana with Dave on guitar and vox? I mean he's more than capable Kurt's dynamics and how cool would that be??
    But Dave was drums and backup vocals. No one is Dave Grohl but Dave Grohl. No one else can match those monster beats.
    After reading about this yesterday, I honestly didnt think that today Id be saying this, but that was pretty damn good! I think we were all expecting Nirvana covers so thank christ that wasnt the case. I wouldnt call this a Nirvana reunion though, thats just a lame 'hook' to get people watching, but whatever it was for charity it gets a pass. I also dont think it sounded very Nirvana-like but still a pretty interesting track. Would definately like to hear more from this, could be interesting...
    Firstly, I will say that they sounded great together, and the song was really cool! But I think UG, and even McCartney, describing it as a Nirvana reunion is fairly misleading. Personally I would only think of it as a reunion if they played Nirvana songs. To be honest though, all talk of 'reunion' aside, it's just so cool that they decided to do this
    I never imagined Nirvana playing again, but I'm glad to see it was a guest worthy of breaking that boundary. The concert was great!
    Grohl, Novaselic and Smear all played on the last Foo's album together.
    Novaselic was only on "I Should Have Known," though. I would kill to see the three of them do an album together - especially if it was as good as the song they played last night.
    Paul: hey guys I wrote a song! Krist: oh that's great. Dave: good job, we'll hang it right here. Right on the fridge where everyone can see it. Paul: All right! Lol just made me think of that family guy clip. But no, great song. Was pumped to hear it.
    This is a Nirvana reunion like Audioslave was a Rage Against the Machine reunion. In other words.... its not. What it is though, is awesome
    Everybody that is saying "Kurt Cobain is rolling in his grave right now." after last night need to grow the hell up.
    I thought the performance was killer! It wasn't really an actual Nirvana reunion show or anything, it was the remaining members of Nirvana coming together again on stage in 20 years and that was pretty awesome! The song kicked ass too.
    Well, McCartney definitely has a more recognisable face than Kurt... Sorry, I couldn't help it
    Hilarious. Sarcasm doesn't translate well to text, so I'll just be thorough and make note of my sarcasm.
    This performance was really awesome . I also LOVED the fact Paul performed Helter Skelter
    This sounds like something from Superfuzz Big Muff by Mudhoney. I really enjoyed it.
    How is this a Nirvana reunion with no Nirvana songs?
    I was thinking the same thing. I can't imagine Paul singing Nirvana songs with swear words. That would be hella weird.
    Flying Afros
    Because Grohl, Smear, and Novoselic were all in Nirvana, although Smear just toured with them I believe towards the end.
    Didn't Kurt once say : "I love The Beetles, but I hate Paul McCartney"? Was still a good performance, shame the crowd was a little dead
    I think he was talking about disliking frontmen in general. He said in that same quote that he liked Led Zep and The Who but hated Robert Plant and Roger Daltry.
    But John was as much the frontman of the Beatles as Paul was, and John was Kurt's hero.
    It was a pretty damn good song. I'd love to see them do an album and tour. Queen did it with Paul Rodgers, so why not Nirvana + Paul McCartney.
    After commentary and complaints, I expected this to be terrible. Boy am I surprised to see the performance rocked. Holy shit McCartney - not bad at all for a 70 year old man. Raspy and rocking performance.
    hearing them play gives the feeling that they were just as important to the sound of the band, grohl drumming and chris' bass lines gave a good base to sit on for kurt's guitars and screams. it was not all a one man show, maybe most of it, but they were still crucial to the band.
    damn grohl sounded like he was trying to murder the drumset. really good stuff.
    Song sounds pretty bad ass... Paul's slide work on it gives a cool feel. Hard though to feel like a "reunion" when Smear has played off and on with Grohl since Nirvana disbanded, and as the article pointed out, Novoselic did some bass on a Foo's track. I also heard a Grohl interview on Nirvana where he mentioned that he still keeps regular contact with Novoselic and they have remained friends. The article and even Paul's speech make it sound like all these guys hadn't been in a room with their instruments since 1994, and Paul and them just kind of met up and boom. Still cool to see though. Off topic - I read somewhere a few weeks ago that Hendrix really wanted Paul to do a record with him back in the day, but Paul was just to busy to be able to give it a commitment. Now that would have been sick as well.
    I think Kurt would have loved this, he loved the Beatles albeit being a bigger Lennon fan than any of the rest, but I'm sure he still would've felt honored, I mean come on, who wouldn't?!?
    If anyone could manage to feel not honored by this, it would be Kurt Cobain. That was part of his charm, actually.
    That's gonna be a fun entry in Grohl's Auto-Biog "Shit, that was the time we just casually jammed with a Beatle, That was a cool Monday"
    Both contextually and musically I didn't really care for this. I respect everyone's opinion that they thoroughly enjoyed it, but between the framework the media coerced, the millions of flashy bulbs, the song sounding like an amped up McCartney staple, and the fact that this celebrity cesspool was the venue which housed the first reunion of surviving Nirvana members in 20 years just didn't do it for me. Personally a bit disappointed. Sorry to rain on the parade.
    Title is a little misleading to someone not aware of this. The song was good, but Paul looked very out of place with those young whipper-snappers :p
    Paul Mcartney - the most annoying Beatle alive. I suppose Ringo was busy.
    meh, nothing special. Glad they did something different, but I won't be waiting for anything anytime soon.
    If this is a one-time happening, then it is cool... But if it's something that will result in a album, then could they at least call themselves something else? Because Nirvana is not Nirvana without Kurt - then it's just most of the origninal members, working together with Paul. Don't get me wrong, this sounds great, but I would not call it a real "Nirvana-reunion", since Nirvana will (wether we like it or not) forever be synonymous with Kurt Cobain's music. Bottom line, if they create a different name to put their music under (ex. Nirveatles, or something better), then it will be awsome to hear what remains of Nirvana together with Paul, but it just seems wrong to call it a "Nirvana-reunion"...
    If you know any of Nirvana's history then you would know that this is huge in terms of influence on Kurt Cobain, he loved The Beatles; or so the book Heavier Than HEaven has led me to beleive
    Genuinely thought this was a troll when I read it yesterday. Didn't turn out too bad, though.
    I was actually disappointed about the song. I was also under the impression before the performance that they were also going to perform a few Nirvana classics as a nod to Kurt. Maybe Courtney somehow sabotaged that.
    This was one of the most intriguing one off events ever. I saw McCartney on his last tour date before this show, and watching his band performing on TV and then with 3/4 of Nirvana was shocking, I thought I was hallucinating! The song was interesting. and it was an original? Cool.
    ^ - meant to be a response; might as well disregard my above comment. Anyways, I really liked this performance.